I regretfully had the vet put my cat to sleep today.
Denver (photo here) is familiar to those of you who followed this thread. Sadly, diabetes got the better of Denver, and I asked the vet (whom I will call “Dr. Kay”) to put him to sleep. She concurred. Denver’s dosage of insulin was well beyond the norms for his size and weight, and she was reluctant to prescribe more. Dr. Kay did feel that there might have been something that was complicating the diabetes, but without further testing, couldn’t be sure. As the tests were quite expensive, she understood my reluctance to proceed with them; and should they return negative results, we’d be back where we started. Under the circumstances, she agreed that euthanasia was called for.
As it was, Denver had 13 great years. He was quite the traveller, having moved from the farm where he was born to our house in a small Ontario town. Then, in his carrier in the baggage hold of an an Air Canada flight (see my reporting of his experience here). Then he moved down from Calgary to Lethbridge in the car during a bad snowstorm. At all times, Denver was agreeable, pleasant, curious, and easygoing.
I have other cats, but Denver was pretty special. Not just because he was the oldest of all, but because of his nature. Very little bothered Denver; he simply made the best of the cards he was dealt. He enjoyed kitty treats, watching birds from the window, and playing with his catnip cigar–the only toy he really cared about. He played occasionally with toy mice, wiggling ribbons, and laser pointers; but it was his catnip cigar that he protected carefully. He was also interested in me, and would often jump on something (the bed, the bathroom vanity, the kitchen table) and reach a paw out to get my attention. He would be rewarded with head skritches, to which he purred happily. And more often than not, he would curl up with me when I went to bed.
Sadly, the diabetes and associated neuropathy took its toll on my little buddy. He staggered around the house like a drunken sailor. His legs could not get him up onto the bed. I built a ladder he could use, but after a while, he even had problems using that. He had a hard enough time getting onto my easy chair for a nap–he dragged himself up onto the ottoman, rested, and then carefully moved over to the chair. Half the time, he would fall between the ottoman and the chair, and he would start over again. Sometimes, he could not get to the litterbox in time, and he would void wherever he happened to be. He liked it no better than I did; he always looked sheepish and embarrassed about it, scraping at the floor in an effort to clean up his mess. I forgave him, and cleaned it up myself.
I will miss his voice. Denver never could produce a cat’s meow; he squawked, make “grak” noises, and could sound like a 1970s funk guitar (“Wa!”). But he could not meow. He could purr like there was no tomorrow, though; and he often sounded like a little diesel engine when he got head skritches.
Denver provided companionship to me, but he taught me also. For example, he taught me that sometimes, the best thing is to just go with the flow–it may be interesting and educational (his flight from Toronto to Calgary). But sometimes, we have to pick our battles and do have to stand up for what we want (you can have that toy; I don’t care about that, but I do want my catnip cigar). If a problem presents itself, study it and try the most logical solution (see Denver’s response to a problem at this post). Don’t keep trying things that obviously don’t work.
I am certainly richer for having known Denver, and to have learned from him.
Friends, if you can, please spare a thought for Denver. Perhaps those of you who are cat owners could give your own feline friends some treats, or some extra skritches. But I would ask anybody, pet owner or not, to spare a thought for my little buddy. Many thanks.